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Sun Protection FAQ



What's the big deal about sun protection anyway?
We now know that ultraviolet rays penetrate most of the lightweight apparel we wear while in the sun. Time spent in the sun accumulating ultraviolet (UV) rays into the skin leads to problems later in life. The rate of skin cancer in the U.S. has grown from 200,000 new cases in 1990 to more than 1,500,000 new cases this year··..and the age of onset is getting younger and younger.
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What are the US testing and labeling standards for UV fabric and garments?
The US standards consist of AATCC 183, ASTM 6544 and ASTM 6603. The three labeling categories of UV protection for fabric and garments after the durability tests have been performed are:
-Good UV Protection-UPF 15 to 24
-Very Good UV Protection-UPF 25 to 39
-Excellent UV Protection-UPF40 to 50+
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What's wrong with my favorite lightweight shirt and my mesh baseball cap??
You don't know the UPF factor of these items. Regular shirts without UPF protection, can have a UPF factor as low as UPF 6-10. Fabric that is lightweight, thin, light in color, aren't woven very tightly offer very little UPF protection. You can still sunburn, even if you don't, your skin can still get damaged from harmful UV rays.

When you use sun protective clothing that has been rated using UPF (Ultra-violet protective factor) you know that you are protected using these standards:

The US standards consist of AATCC 183, ASTM 6544 and ASTM 6603. The three labeling categories of UV protection for fabric and garments after the durability tests have been performed are:

-Good UV Protection-UPF 15 to 24
-Very Good UV Protection-UPF 25 to 39
-Excellent UV Protection-UPF40 to 50+
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Yes, but I don't actually get a sunburn through my tee-shirt, can I still get cancer?
You don't need to tan or burn to have harmful UV radiation be absorbed into your skin and, over time, dramatically increase the risk of getting skin cancer.
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Why not just slather on sunscreen?
Sunscreen is a valuable tool in sun protection, but it's not perfect. It rubs off, sweats off and fades away every few hours which necessitates reapplying it regularly. Many sunscreens contain a pain killing ingredient so you may not even feel the damage occurring to you skin. The most effective and comprehensive program of sun protection should include apparel offering maximum protection along with sunscreen. Just don't rely too much on sunscreens.
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Wait a minute, I tan up pretty easily. Doesn't that mean I don't have to worry about too much sun? Isn't my tan a sign of healthy skin??
No. Dermatologists will tell you that any tan is a sign of damaged skin. It doesn't matter what type of skin you have, you can still get skin cancer. Tanned skin becomes like tanned leather that's been left in the sun...dry, lifeless and wrinkled. You not only increase the risk of getting skin cancer, you run the risk of looking old before your time.
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What about some of the clothing that's on the market that continues to be rated with an SPF number?
Labeling clothing with an SPF number is incorrect and misleading to consumers, and used without permission, infringes an existing US registered trademark. SPF ratings are only used for sunscreens and lotions because they are a measure of time you can spend in the sun before your skin starts reddening. With sun protective fabrics, time is not a problem.
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How do I know that the UV blocking ability of any fabric will be maintained after washing and wearing?
Insist on fabrics and garments that have been UV tested at an independent laboratory and are UV Block¨ certified. You'll know that the fabric/garment has been properly tested according to rigid US standards and that its UPF rating is correct.
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So how do you know if a product really does the job, who's regulating this?
Currently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) are involved in the regulation of UV protective fabrics/garments. Consumers can connect on-line to the FTC to register their complaints or questions about UV fabrics/garments.
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What is the definition of a sun protective fabric?
A sun protective fabric must achieve a minimum UPF rating of at least a UPF15 after the equivalent of two years of normal wear and tear. The percentage of UVB blocking abilities of the fabric should be in the 97% to 99% range even after two years of wear and tear.
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What makes SPF Fabrics different from other fabrics?
SPF® Fabrics are a result of finding the right balance between porosity and UV blocking so they repel UV and still breathe well. The Solar Protective Factory is a pioneer in the sun protection fabric and garment business. We have been producing SPF Fabrics for more than ten years. Every dye-lot of SPF® Fabrics is tested and UV Block¨ certified by UV International Testing Laboratories.
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I've heard about sun protective clothing made from recycled coffee grinds, is that effective?
If the fabric has been tested using UPF standards and is labeled appropriately, that will allow you to know the fabrics ability to block UV rays. However, the reason why SPF does not sell clothing using recycled coffee beans is due to the traits of these lines of clothing. One distinguishable trait of clothing made from coffee grinds is the fact they retain heat. Clothing made from recycled coffee grinds can raise your body temperature up to 10 degrees. In the summertime, this would not be a factor anyone would appreciate during the steamy summer months.
If you look around, you will see these types of clothes being marketed towards the fitness industry and highlighting the fact it raises the body's temperature. The fabric is a type of spandex that traps heat from the outside in.

For those who are health conscious and use active wear, SPF uses CW-X training wear for our fitness line. It uses Zinc-Titanium fibers to provide top UV protection ratings of 40-50 UPF. Their Healthafabric is multi-functional, lightweight and quick drying. They are designed with a 6 channel shape of Healtha fibers that pulls sweat away from the skin's surface to the exterior of the fabric. It is also designed to be anti-bacterial and odorless using an application of silver-dioxide fiber technology.
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Aurora, CO 80016
United States
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